It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a town from looking at its pizza, and if that’s true, then it’s clear that Orange, California is very much a suburb with slight pretensions of being something more, as well as more poor people than it would care to admit. Although some of the chains try, there’s no place to go for true Chicago-style deep-dish, and it’s hard to find anything resembling real Italian pizza outside of upscale Italian restaurants. As far as the local selection goes, it basically comes down to two things: how thin you want your crust (and there isn’t even a lot of variety in that category), and how much you’re willing to pay.
That said, not all pizza is created equal, and some is definitely better than others, so to discover where the best and tastiest deals can be found, read on intrepid pizza-seeker!
4911 E Chapman Ave
513 N Tustin St.
The local place to go for cheap pizza. There are two locations, which are more less the same. The restaurants are small and don’t have a lot of seating – their business is primarily directed at take-out and delivery and they’re a popular place for college students to turn to for party fuel since they’re relatively fast and inexpensive. They used to offer great combo deals, like two large, three topping pizzas plus drinks for sixteen dollars, but they’ve recently ended those promotions and now seem to be pushing deals that include salad, lasagna, chicken wings and more complete “meals,” which are still good deals, but also more expensive. The pizza, admittedly, is not the best, but they’re sized well for the price you pay.
2552 E. Chapman Ave.
The place to go for even cheaper pizza. Although they used to be known for the whole two for the price of one “pizza pizza” thing, Little Caesar’s has recently become more notable for their “hot and ready” promotion, which offers pre-made large pepperoni pizzas for five dollars each. As would be expected, they aren’t particularly good pizzas. I don’t know if this is true of other Little Caesar’s franchises, but the one in Orange will let you substitute a different topping for pepperoni for the same price if you’re willing to wait, which is nice at least. Little Caesar’s has even less seating that Valentino’s and has rather become more of a pizza stand than an actual restaurant.
Zito’s Pizza Restaurant
2036 N. Tustin St
Located at a prime spot by the Orange Circle, Zito’s is certainly one of the more pleasant spots to sit down and eat pizza in the city. They have a nice patio and TVs in the dining room that are always tuned to sporting events. Their pizza is “New York style,” so it’s for those who like their crust thin and also slightly greasy, although they don’t go to extremes in either area. You can get whole pizzas to eat there or to go, as well as single slices. They have a popular lunch special which offers a slice and a drink for about $5. Zito’s may be the only place to go that offers vegetarian sausage as one of their toppings, and although the ‘meat’ looks a little green, it’s still rather tasty.
Papa John’s Pizza
310 S Main St.
3138B E Chapman Ave.
Possibly the best take-out and delivery pizza in town, Papa John’s has two locations in Orange, which means they can deliver to just about anywhere. Their crusts are thicker and doughier than Little Caesar’s or Valentino’s and the sauce is sweeter as well. Other than that, the main differences are that simply Papa John’s makes better pizza and that it will cost you more. Instead of five or six dollars for a large pizza, be prepared to pay ten or twelve. That’s still not an unreasonable amount of money, but the bargain prices of other places in town tend to make Papa John’s look like the upper crust.